An evolving landscape on South Main Street is now the home to studioMain, whose Grand Opening last night was a hit with the locals who came out to see what it is all about. This organizations core principles include: EDUCATE community, ADVOCATE better design, COLLABORATE allied fields and CHALLENGE convention. Started by a group of emerging young professionals in the field of Architecture several years back, this new non-profit stands to be exactly what South Main and Little Rock as a whole needs to continue the momentum seen in the last few years of revitalization happening in our downtown city. Collaborations over the last few years between the Downtown Little Rock CDC with the UofA Fay Jones School of Architecture and the UofA Community Design Center have created an environment ripe for growth in the design fields, which in turn should usher in new opportunities for economic growth. Their hopes - to challenge conventional decision-making and create opportunities for intelligent design in the built environment. It stands to reason that all parties wishing to see a vibrant downtown, one that grows in the direction that creates opportunity while fostering a commitment to the vision of the majority of residents who reside here, will see this as an opportunity to collaborate and come together to further progress positive growth.
And what was show cased at the Grand Opening: work done by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center and their students on the Pettaway Pocket Neighborhood Project, developed through a collaborative effort between the UACDC, the Downtown Little Rock CDC, residents of Pettaway and the City of Little Rock. Leveraging a CDBG grant from the city awarded to the DLRCDC several years ago for a development plan on some of its land , the UACDC applied and was awarded a NEA grant to create this plan. Steve Luoni with the UACDC was on hand to present the work along with Jeff Huber. The Pocket Neighborhood design was a hit, with everyone asking what it would take to make it happen. Fingers pointing at the DLRCDC, the true success of realizing this project will come from continued commitments from the broader community to support the efforts of the Pettaway Neighborhood.
Many thanks goes to Steve Luoni, Jeff Huber, staff and students at the UACDC for the excellent work they did on this project. Additional Thanks goes to the residents in Pettaway who volunteered to be on the steering committee to assist, board of directors for the DLRCDC who participated in the development of this plan, and to the city of Little Rock for their support through CDBG to make this happen.
But most of All, thanks to the volunteers of Young professionals and seasoned professionals who helped make studioMain happen. Here's to continued success in everyone's efforts downtown. Go by and see the Pocket Neighborhood Designs at studioMain, 1423-C S. Main, Little Rock, three doors down from Boulevard Bread, next to the Green Corner Store and across the street from Root Cafe (which by the way has a great burger and warm, inviting feel-check it out)! Walk Around.....